Pointing Magnifier 2 in lens mode over U.W. home page
Click to enlarge

Pointing Magnifier 2

Jacob O. Wobbrock, Ph.D. [contact]
Leah Findlater, Ph.D.
Alexis Hiniker, Ph.D.
Alex Jansen
University of Washington


Current Version

You can choose to run the PM2.msi installer, or just download the PM2.zip file and unzip it. Inside, you will find the PM2.exe file, which can be run directly. If you choose to use the PM2.msi installer, note that you might see a Microsoft Defender warning when you install. This is expected until the installer builds reputation with Microsoft. You can proceed to install it anyway—we promise no harm will come!

The Pointing Magnifier 2 runs on the Microsoft .NET 4.8 Framework. After installing the application or unzipping the ZIP file, if the program does not run properly, you might need to Download the .NET 4.8 Runtime. (This should only be necessary on Windows computers that have not been updated via Windows Update.)

This software is distributed for non-commercial use under the New BSD License agreement. For commercial use, please contact Prof. Wobbrock at wobbrock@uw.edu.

Pointing Magnifier 2 settings window
Click to enlarge

About PM2 (What's new!) (Known issues)

The Pointing Magnifier is a cursor replacement designed to reduce the need for fine motor control. It is also useful in getting a close look at any region of the screen without losing the surrounding context, which has been useful to graphic designers and people with low vision. With the Pointing Magnifier, the usual mouse cursor is replaced by a semi-transparent circular cursor. When the user clicks, the area beneath this circular cursor becomes magnified. Once magnified, the typical mouse cursor arrow appears within the magnified lens, allowing for normal mouse operations, now on much larger targets.

The Pointing Magnifier supports all button-based actions: clicking, double-clicking, right-clicking, dragging, and button dwelling, both on the cursor itself and within its magnified lens. It does not trigger mouse movement-based events—mouse over, mouse hover, mouse enter, or mouse leave—due to technical limitations.

The original Pointing Magnifier was developed in 2010-2011 by Alex Jansen, with lead designer Leah Findlater and help from Jacob O. Wobbrock, among others. A decade later, numerous feature requests and design improvements have resulted in the creation of Pointing Magnifier 2 by Jacob O. Wobbrock, with help from Alexis Hiniker. See what's new!

Despite the many improvements in Pointing Magnifier 2, there are still some known issues.

Comparison to Windows Magnifier

Windows Magnifier tool
Click to enlarge

How does the Pointing Magnifier compare to the built-in Windows Magnifier tool? There are two major differences:


Prof. Wobbrock was interviewed on April 18, 2011 about the original Pointing Magnifier on
Voice of America (*.mp3).

Video Demo


Jansen, A., Findlater, L. and Wobbrock, J.O. (2011). From the lab to the world: Lessons from extending a pointing technique for real-world use. Extended Abstracts of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '11). Vancouver, British Columbia (May 7-12, 2011). New York: ACM Press, pp. 1867-1872. [acm] [poster]

Findlater, L., Jansen, A., Shinohara, K., Dixon, M., Kamb, P., Rakita, J. and Wobbrock, J.O. (2010). Enhanced area cursors: Reducing fine-pointing demands for people with motor impairments. Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '10). New York, NY (October 3-6, 2010). New York: ACM Press, pp. 153-162. [acm] [youtube]


This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grant IIS-0811063. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.

Copyright © 2011-2020 Jacob O. Wobbrock. All rights reserved.
Last updated May 2, 2020.